The Town Council is closing some of its play areas in Victoria Park, City Recreation Ground, Wash Common and other areas around the town in order to slow the spread of Coronavirus.
Enclosed playgrounds, including the tennis courts and the Bowls Club in Victoria Park, will close until further notice, in response to the Government’s directions. Where the playgrounds and other facilities, such as outdoor gym equipment, are not enclosed, the Town Council is asking the public to observe the social distancing rules (keeping a distance of at least two metres apart) and the assembling rules – no more than two persons, unless from the same household.
Councillor Martin Colston, Leader of the Council, said how much the Council regrets having to take such drastic action. “The Council has provided these facilities for the enjoyment of the Community and we hate having to take such drastic action. However, I’m sure people can understand why we have to do this. Lives will be saved, and we thank the public for their co-operation.”
Newbury’s markets to remain open
Councillor Colston added “On the brighter side, Newbury Markets will remain open for essential retail stalls, such as grocery and food. In line with Government guidelines, our Thursday and Saturday markets will continue to trade grocery and food. So, please come along for some of the best local, fresh produce, including fruit and veg, meat, eggs and bread.
The traders and our Market Managers will take steps to help adhere to the Government guidelines including keeping a distance of two metres between themselves and any other person.”
Community Support Hub
The Town Council has also promised its support to the newly formed Community Support Hub, offering the use of its facilities, such as the Town Hall and the Wharf Toilets, if required, in order to deal with the crisis. Councillors are also helping locally in their wards and supporting local groups identify and support the elderly and the vulnerable.
Next Town Council meeting
Councillor Elizabeth O’Keeffe, Mayor of Newbury, has convened an extraordinary meeting of the Town Council at 7.30pm on Monday 30 March, to plan how else the Council can respond to the crisis and provide support where it’s needed most. The Council will also be making the necessary amendments to procedures and policies to ensure we can make rapid decisions and keep its essential services operating as smoothly as possible.
She said, “This meeting is necessary to set out how the Council will respond and to give our officers the flexibility and resources to support the community through this Emergency. It will also be our first ever “virtual” meeting – the Council will use‘Zoom to host the meeting, which the public can access through this link.